Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Freebie: Bruce Van Patter

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Bruce Van Patter when he came to East York Elementary School as a visiting artist. I don't remember how I discovered that he was from Lewisburg, (where I spent six years as first a college student, then a graduate student), but that common thread sewed up an ongoing Facebook connection, where I have continued to admire his work. Though I usually feature fellow wordsmiths on my Friday Freebies, I decided that it was high time I extended an invitation to an artist.

As you'll see from his post, Bruce is no slouch in the communication skills department either --not surprising, as he is the author of two picture books: Farley Found It and Tucker Took It. 
 I hope you enjoy Bruce's work as much as I do. Happy Friday!

I recently heard Tom Hanks say in an interview, "There is only one yardstick for success and that is longevity."  If that's true, there are only two ways to obtain longevity: be incredibly talented or constantly innovate.  When it comes to my career, I'm not the best judge of the former, but I do know the latter is true. I have constantly been shifting and changing what I do artistically in order to keep working.
After a few years of illustrating for advertising, I began to pursue children's illustration, which required me to "cut my teeth" in the world of textbooks before I finally landed my first illustrated book, which I co-wrote with my college roommate, who is now a world-renowned nature writer.

That book, though it didn't sell well, opened the door to do school visits, which I pursued for fifteen years.
Presenting in schools was tremendous fun and very satisfying, since I went a bit off the beaten track for visiting authors and focused more on encouraging the ideas of kids than on my own journey.  I began to incorporate live drawing.  I'd have four students, pulled from the audience, give me four random ideas (but following the framework for a narrative that I outlined in the slide show), then turn and draw a picture from the story I'd invent on the spot.  I used to call it "Whose Line Drawing Is It Anyway," but then the show was cancelled and kids didn't get the reference.

Little did I know I was getting training for the next stage in my career!

Drop by next week for another serving of Bruce's work!

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